tv U.S. Senate CSPAN November 3, 2015 6:00pm-8:01pm EST
a senator: mr. president, i want to talk about what we've been debating today on the senate floor on the waters of the u.s. rule and the legislation that has gotten bipartisan support so far. we think it needs a lot more support here on why this is so important for the country. you know, unfortunately, the bill, senator barrasso's bill, i was a cosponsor of, that bill didn't get the 60 votes
necessary. mr. sullivan: but senator ernst has a resolution and i think it will be very important to pass. it would stop this rule from being enacted by the e.p.a., and hopefully we'll see if the president once this is put on his desk has some common sense to sign it rather than veto it. but what i wanted to talk about, i want to actually put this rule in a much broader context, to put the debate we're having here today on the waters of the u.s. rule into the broader context of actually what's happening in our country in how the e.p.a.'s waters of the u.s. rule is actually a symbol for much broader problems that i think the vast majority of americans recognize. the other night, mr. president, i went to a premiere of a short film on the trans-alaska pipeline system, what we call in alaska, taps. let me tell you a little bit
about taps. it's alaska's 800-mile artery of steel that was done in the most responsible manner in terms of the environment that brings much energy to our country. when it was built, it was actually one of the biggest private-sector construction projects ever in the history of our great nation and literally directly and indirectly employed tens of thousands of americans. it has carried almost 17 billion barrels of oil, american oil, to energy-thirsty american markets and continue to provide thousands and thousands of jobs not only in alaska but throughout the country. and it is certainly a technological and environmental marvel. and here's the thing, mr. president. that kind of huge project was built in three years. think about that.
800 miles of steel pipeline crossing three mountain ranges, more than 30 major rivers and streams. it took americans three years to build that. one look at taps, you go to alaska and you still see it functioning incredibly well today. you're reminded of how when this nation puts its mind to something, we can get great things done. and that system, that incredible energy infrastructure system in many ways congress played a critical role in making sure that happened. we are a great nation, but i must admit when i was watching this movie last week with a bunch of alaskans, senator murkowski, don young and others, i did feel a sense of unease, almost a little nostalgia when we were watching this film about this great project that americans came together from all
over the country to build. because we all know that we used to do great things here, to build great things. let me give you a few examples. again, in alaska, what's called the alcan highway, the alaska-canada highway through some of the world's most rugged terrain, 1,700 miles. that was built in under a year. we built the empire state building in 410 days. we built the pentagon in 16 months. the hoover dam, the interstate highway system, putting a man on the moon. i could go on and on and on. when you look at the history of this country, it's a history of getting big things done. it's not just getting big things done. these projects were a symbol of american pride, american greatness. and they also created tens of thousands of jobs, great jobs,
middle-class jobs which gave workers a sense that what they were doing was really important in their daily lives and really important to their country. you know, even in alaska still, when you talk to someone who worked on taps, who constructed this for the country, they talk about it in terms of pride, in terms of what they were doing for their state, but also what they were doing for america and how everybody came together to build this. but here's the sad fact, mr. president. these kind of projects are not being built today. instead, we have become a red tape nation. instead of symbols of techno logical wonder and national pride, and american ingenuity, we now hear story after story -- and we've all heard them here in the senate -- of delay, discord and disappointment, all of which
symbolizes today a country that can't get things done. and the main culprit, the main culprit right here, right here: washington, d.c., the capital of dysfunction. whether it's the keystone pipeline, transmission lines in california, or bridges or highways or runways across the country, killing crucial development and infrastructure projects through permitting and regulatory delay and federal agency overreach with new rules upon new rules, and all they do is stop development. and this certainly has been a hallmark of the obama administration. and the wotus rules, the e.p.a.'s waters of the u.s. rule, is just the latest manifestation of this. but as you know, mr. president,
this is happening all over the country. frequently because of the political risks, the president and members of his administration, like gina mccarthy, won't openly oppose economic development projects. instead they'll wrap them in red tape until they delay them to death. let me give you some examples. in 2008 shell acquired leases in the arctic ocean off the coast of alaska for over $2 billion. so that's a company going to the federal government. the federal government is saying we want to lease this land to you. a company says we'll give you billions in return -- the federal government. that money has already been spent, the billions -- to develop natural resources. of course this is big news in alaska. production, new production of
oil would have filled up three-quarters of taps, which i talked about earlier. it would have created jobs. some estimates are in the tens of thousands of jobs, direct and indirect jobs. provided much-needed state and local revenue and energy security for our country. so what happened? remember the federal government is inviting a private-sector company to do this. it didn't take long for this project to run into a maddening array of often conflicting and confusing permitting challenges, drilling moratoriums, new regulations, environmental lawsuits, permitting confusions that year after year kept the drill bit above the ground. now, jump to 2015. what had once been a very robust exploration program has resulted in what happened this summer.
the permission finally to drill one exploration well off the coast of alaska, where hundreds of wells have already been drilled safe. we've been doing this safe for decades. let me sum that up. it took seven years, $7 billion to get permission to drill one exploration well in 100 feet of water. seven years, $7 billion, to finally get the federal government's permission to drill one single exploration well in 100 feet of water. no company in the world can endure that. this was a project that was meant to be delayed, delayed, delayed until it was killed. some of my colleagues have been
celebrating this. celebrating this. well, i think that's sad because what they're really celebrating, they're celebrating the loss of really good jobs for americans throughout the country. in many ways they're celebrating what is a symbol of america's decline. because these resources in the arctic are going to be developed one way or the other, and it's either going to be by countries like us that have the highest standards, most responsible standards on the environment, or countries like russia and china, who don't. so the russians and chinese are not going to be charged there. they're going to be producing energy. they're going to be getting the jobs. and they're not going to care at all about the environment. so instead of a win-win-win for the united states, this is a lose-lose-lose. and yet, we have members of this
body celebrating this. but this, again, mr. president, is not a problem confined to my state or energy programs in terms of the delay, delay, delay. let me provide a few examples. we had a recent senate commerce committee hearing on aviation infrastructure. everybody thinks aviation infrastructure is important. i certainly do. the manager of the seattle airport was testifying. he talked about, as part of his role as c.e.o. of the american association of airport executives, he talked about how it took almost four years to build the seattle airport's new runway, to build a new runway. it seems like a fair amount of time, but you know, maybe a construction project like that takes a fair amount of time. but i had a question for him, which i didn't know the answer to. i asked him how long did it take to get the federal permits, to
go through the federal permitting system to build this additional runway at the seattle airport. his answer? 15 years. 15 years, to get the federal permits to build a runway. you could have heard -- well, you did hear the whole committee, the whole audience, they just gasped. and then he said -- quote -- they built the great pyramids of egypt faster than that, unquote. this is what's going on in our country, and we're to blame. this town, it's happening all over the country, mr. president. americans need to know this. permitting a desalinization
plant which would provide much-needed freshwater to help drought-stricken california, it only took nine years to permit that. simply raising a bridge in new york, not building a new bridge, razing a new one, took five years, the same bridge, and 20,000 pages of federal permitting requirements. the average time it now takes in america to approve to get federal approval for a major highway project is more than six years. six years. again, not to build a highway but just get the federal permission. it took almost 20 years if you include the litigation to get federal permission to build a single gold mine in alaska, 20 years. we had to take that all the way to the u.s. supreme court because the federal government was not supporting us.
now that mine, the kensington mine, employs over 300 people at an average wage of $100,000 per person. those are great jobs. those are great jobs. and we have a federal government that wants to delay, delay, delay. let's talk about the keystone x.l. pipeline. we had a debate here, seven years and counting to build a pipeline. seven years and counting. in terms of the federal permits. who's hurt by this? you know, our friends on the other side, they talk a lot about the companies and everything, trans-canada, the people who are hurt by this are american families, middle-class workers, union members. you know, mr. president, one of the most surprising things i saw as a freshman this year when we were debating the override of the keystone pipeline, the state
department had predicted this would create as many as 30,000 jobs. these are good jobs. construction jobs, real jobs. real americans working to build something important. i was presiding in the chair like you, mr. president, and some of the members on the other side of the aisle started arguing these aren't real jobs because they're temporary. thp isn't going to create 30,000 jobs because they're temporary jobs. i about fell out of my chair. construction jobs aren't real jobs? since when is that the case? according to the president's own small business administration, the regulatory costs on small businesses in the united states per year are close to $2 trillion. per year. that's $15,000 per family.
the bottom line is we know we can do better, we have to do better. if we want to grow this country and create jobs. but i believe there is a silver lining. i believe, mr. president, things have gotten so bad that this delay that's happening everywhere on projects that matter for us as a nation, projects that are so weighted down under red tape, is making americans, regardless of party, start to take note. and i've seen a silver lining here. both democrats and republicans are starting to demand change. they're demanding bold and serious regulatory reform. i've had conversations with members of both sides of the aisle here about how important this is for our economy, how important it is for jobs. and that's why this debate today on the waters of the united
states is so important, is so important. unfortunately we didn't get a number of bills. we did have a pretty strong bipartisan group. i think we would have gotten a 59, one vote short to move forward. it's unfortunate that the other side couldn't see the merits of this. but this rule will not help grow our economy. this rule will continue to stifle growth. this rule will certainly continue to kill jobs. it takes what we all want certainly the whole idea of protecting our water, clean water. in my state of alaska, we have the cleanest water of any state in the country. we win awards every year for our clean, pristine water. it's not because the e.p.a. is making that happen. it's because alaskans are making that happen. but it takes the clean water act and somehow through a rule that the e.p.a. has deviced itself
gives the e.p.a. the power, the power to regulate not major rivers but water in our back yards, literally. and almost certainly this rule doesn't comport with federal law. we have had two courts say that t there is a stay on it. naturally the sixth circuit has put a stay on this rule. over 30 states, think about that, mr. president, 30 states have sued to stop this rule, a bipartisan coalition of states, because it's almost certainly not legal. you know, i asked the administrator mccarthy about the legal opinion, the legal basis that they had for this rule. i have never gotten an answer. from the e.p.a. administrator. never gotten an answer. and i'm not sure they really even care. you know, the last two supreme court terms, the e.p.a. has lost two big cases in the u.s. supreme court, they have lost the sixth circuit case for now,
and unfortunately we had the administrator of the e.p.a. on tv recently a few months ago on the eve of this supreme court case, e.p.a. versus michigan. when asked if she was going to win the case, she said we think we're going to win but ultimately it doesn't really matter because the companies have already had to comply with hundreds of millions of dollars. think about that. think about what she said. well, this rule is going to have a huge, profound impact on my state. alaska has more waters under the jurisdiction of the clean water act than any other state in the country. over 50% of america's wetlands are located in alaska. mr. president, i held multiple field hearings as a chairman of the subcommittee on fisheries, water and wildlife on the water
of the united states rule, and it is clear to me that alaskans of vastly different backgrounds, ideologies, different parts of the state are opposed to this rule. one group in my state said the rule would -- quote -- straitjacket any development. another said it would have negative impacts on virtually any economic development project in alaska. one project that we're very focused on in alaska, we're having a special session right now in our state legislature, is the alaska l.n.g. project, a very large-scale l.n.g. project that, like taps, will be great for the country, create thousands of jobs, energy security for americans and our allies. and this rule, if left in its
present form, will very negatively impact the costs and timeline of that project. simply put, mr. president, the waters of the u.s. is one of the largest land grabs in history, and it is an example of the kind of challenges we need to address here to get our economy moving again, to create good jobs for americans, and it's why this debate we're having is so important. these are problems we can fix, we know we can fix it. americans sent us here to fix these problems, and we need to start by stopping rules like the waters of the u.s. that undermine our country's future and the jobs that we need throughout this country. mr. president, i yield the floor.
mr. whitehouse: i see a number of senators on the floor, and i don't know if there is an order at this point that has been established. what is our manner of proceeding? senator isakson was here. the presiding officer: there is no time agreement. mr. isakson: i would ask the chair to agree to recognize senator whitehouse from rhode island, followed by senator isakson and then senator daines. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. whitehouse: before that matter is settled, if i could, reserving the right to object, i will be speaking for about 15 minutes. so if one of you is going to be quicker than that, particularly
significantly quicker, not 14 minutes, i would be happy to yield and let somebody go first. the presiding officer: the senator from montana is going to preside at 6:30, so i think he would be the one that would need to go, and i will go after you. mr. whitehouse: why doesn't the senator from montana proceed with his remarks. mr. isakson: mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent to recognize the senator from montana, senator daines, followed by senator whitehouse, followed by senator isakson. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. daines: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from montana.
mr. daines: today the senate came a few votes shy of passing legislation to protect farmers, ranchers, and small business owners from major new costs and regulatory burdens, and i appreciate the bipartisan support demonstrated today by four key senate democrats. i've got to say i'm disappointed that others chose instead to put loyalty to president obama before the concerns of their constituents, the concerns of those people they represent. because montanans know that this power grab has more to do with controlling montana's land use decisions than ensuring access to clean water like the clean water act intended. this is an ill-conceived rule that provides the e.p.a. unprecedented power to regulate virtually any spot across montana that is occasionally wet, and this could have a devastating impact on montana jobs, on montana's natural resources and ag industries and montanans' property rights. and don't just take my word for
it. "politico" recently described it as having the potential to -- quote -- give bureaucrats carte blanche to swoop in and penalize landowners every time a cow walks through a ditch. the e.p.a.'s own estimates show this rule will cost americans between $158 million and $465 million a year. and "the new york times" describes just how harrowing this situation is for montana farmers, and i quote the "times." farmers fear that the rule could impose major new costs and burdens requiring them to pay fees for environmental assessments and obtain permits just to till the soil near gullies, ditches or dry stream beds where water flows only when it rains. in montana, this rule has received a see fear rebuke from our farmers, our ranchers and our small businesses who simply can't afford this overreach.
the montana chamber president and c.e.o. webb brown, here's what webb had to say. if this rule stands, there will be tremendous cost to our states, our economies and our employers and their employees' families. under this unprecedented extension of federal power, land and water use decisions will be made in washington, d.c., far from the affected local communities. listen to gene curry from the montana stockyard association. here is what gene says. this rule is an unwise and unwarranted exexpansion of e.p.a.'s over the waters and will have a detrimental impact on montana ranchers. listen to what charlie said. i met with charlie a week ago back in montana. charlie says if implemented, the final wotus rule will have a devastating impact on grain
growers across the state. listen to dustin stewart with the montana home builders association. i grew up in the home-building industry. my dad is a home builder. here is what dustin had to say. the e.p.a.'s waters u.s. regulation is an incurably flawed rule. here is the montana petroleum association executive director said. the e.p.a.'s new water rule is an unnecessary expansion of jurisdiction for the federal government. the e.p.a.'s new rule will negatively impact all land-use industries including ag and energy production. but despite this broad opposition, president obama is moving forward with yet another out-of-touch washington, d.c., regulation. but already two -- two federal courts have issued a stay on this misguided rule, demonstrating the questionable legal ground this regulation stands on. this is a rule issued by the same federal agency that has continued to perpetuate a war on
american energy. in fact, earlier this year we saw the supreme court issue a severe rebuke of the e.p.a.'s mercury and air toxic stand $standards which would -- standards which would have a direct and lasting impact on our economy in montana. this last rule, just like wotus, are just some of the numerous burdensome regulations cooked up by the obama administration and has the potential to eliminate good-paying jobs and devastate the livelihoods of hardworking montana families, hardworking american families. because throughout my home state of montana, we've got tremendous opportunities to develop our state'state's natural resourcesd create new jobs. and that's a good thing. but rather than hitting pause on our energy production, we need to encourage it. but the obama administration is doing exactly the opposite. president obama's full assault on american energy independence has resulted in trans-canada's decision to suspend its aapplication to build the
commonsense keystone x.l. pipeline, which by the way first enters montana from canada. this opportunity would have created good-paying jobs and lowered american energy prices. well, this expansion on the ke s suspension is bad news. we're going to keep fighting on the project that has the overwhelming support of the congress as well as the support of the american people because america can and should power the world. both the obama administration's relentless attacks on affordable energy and good-paying union jobs as well as tribal jobs through this so-called cleaning power plan continue to hinder innovation. none of the final so-called power plan in montana, the coal strip power plant will likely be shuttered, putting thousands of jobs at rick, an risk, and our s
and ranches and business owners should be empowered to drive local decisions, not a bunch of washington, d.c., bureaucrats. so tomorrow i look forward to casting my vote to permanently stop this misguided waters of the united states rule. it's time to ditch this rule. mr. whitehouse: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: mr. president, i guess in the order of proceeding here, i'm here to bring the opposing views. every wreak that we'r week thati remind this body of the damage that carbon pollution is doing to our atmosphere and to our oceans. i've traveled to senator isaks isakson's state to see what the university of georgia is measuring off of the sapolo
island and i hope to have the opportunity to go west to continue this. we have to wake up to climate change, and we have to move towards a clean energy economy and the jobs and the innovation that support it. clear measurements exist of the harm that's already happening. rise sea levels we measure. climbing sea levels, we measure. acidifying oceans we measure. virtually every respected scientific and academic institution agrees that climate change is happening and that human activities -- specifically carbon emissions -- are driving it. carbon pollution is affecting our economy, it's affecting agriculture and wildfires, it's affectinaffecting storms and ine costs. there are so many people -- doctors and health professionals, military and security leaders, insurance and reinsurance industry folks, our
major utilities, american corporations, our faith leaders -- all agree that climate change is a serious challenge and an important priority. and yet here, despite the growing chorus around the country calling for climate action, we hear congressional republicans, such as the majority leader, claim that they're here to stand p fo up fr people by blocking the president's clean power plan. as carbon pollution piles up in the atmosphere, who are they standing up for? certainly not the american people. 83% of americans, including six in ten republicans, want action to reduce carbon emissions. the clean power plan delivers. for the first time we have a national plan to reduce carbon pollution from the largest source of u.s. carbon emissions, which is power plants. the 50 dirtiest coal plants in america emit together more carbon pollution than all of
south korea, more than all of canada. are we going to do nothing about that? too often we hear on the republican side, as folks who trumpet these industry-backed one-sided reports that point only to the cost of action. they don't even measure or report on the cost of inaction. if you were an accountant and did the books that way, you'd go to jail. well, if you look at bodge sides of the ledge -- at both sides of the ledger, e.p.a. shows that the inaction will result in missed school days, 1700 heart attacks, 3600 premature deaths every year. every dollar invested through the clean power plan will keep up to $4 in american families' pockets. savings are also passe passed on through electricity charges with
families expected to save $85 per year. we have the regional greenhouse gas initiative. it is proving that states grow their economies at the same time they cut emissions. putting a price on carbon and plowing that money back into clean energy projects is saving us billions of dollars and helping to reduce carbon pollution. e.p.a. put the states in the driver's seat to come up with plans that suit them. an analysis from the union of concerned scientists shows that 31 states are already on track to be more than halfway toward meeting their 2022 clean power plan benchmarks. these states include both cap-and-trade states like california in the regi group, and coal-heavy states like ohio, iowa, and kentucky. we can meet it, says kentucky energy and environment secretary
leonard peters about the plan. we can meet it. in fact, dr. peters praised the e.p.a. for working with states like kentucky to build this rule. the outreach they've done, he said, "i think is incredible. e.p.a. had an open-door policy. you could call them, talk to them, meet with them." the kentucky experience was echoed around the country, as e.p.a. listens closely to hundreds of concerns, hundreds of public meetings and the final rule includes significant adjustments to accommodate individual states' concerns. even with all this, the majority leader, the senior senator from kentucky, will brook no serious conversation about climate change. we just never have that come up as a subject much th. the republican leader even wrote to all 50 governors urgin urging
defiance of federal recialtion calling the regulations extremely burdensome and costly. that might have been a more credible allegation about the regulations if he had not reached it months before the regulations were even finalized. the clean power plan, says the majority leader, is the latest battle on the great war on coax he says we've depression in appalachia created by the president's zeal t on climate. it appears the head of one his state's -- doesn't agre agree. coal can no longer compete against cheaper alternatives like natural gas and wind power. koacialtiocoal will continue tog with or without the clean power plan. it has nothing to do with the president. if we believe that we can just
change administrations and this issue is going to go away, patton said, we're making a terrible mistake. he said in the article -- and i'll ask unanimous consent to have the article appended to my remarks as an exhibit -- with our without the clean power plan, the economics of alternatives to fossil-based fuels are making inroads in the utility plan. companies are making decisions today where they are moving away from coal-fired generation. the debate largely at this point in time has been lost. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: thank you. mr. patton is not alone. in september financial giant goldman sachs released bleak -- well, that was the second report. they have released several bleak reports on the future of the global coal market. the latest was in september where they drew the conclusion that -- and i quote -- "the industry does not require new investment. given the ability of existing
assets to satisfy flat demand, so prices will remain under pressure as the de-placingary cycle continues -- deflationary cycle continues. in plain english, market forces are driving coal's decline." i seriously doubt that any colleague would think that goldman sachs is a bunch of liberal greenies who've launch add war on coal. this is -- who've launch add war on coal. this is their clear economic thought. since the clean power rule was finalized in august, the massive resistance that the majority leader sought has not ensued. kentucky governor steve beshear has so far not heeded the majority leader's call to rebel. oklahoma governor the first to pledge to resist the president's plan, submitted that oklahoma would submit a compliance plan after all. governor earl ray tomlin announced last week that his administration will begin
working on a compliance plan. in the heart of coal country, in charleston, west virginia, the newspaper, the gazell gazette m, wrote, "it is the right thing to do, both to decrease emissions that contribute to human-caused climate change -- all right, here's the newspaper in the heart of coal country conceding emissions contribute to human-caused climate change. i don't know why we can't get over that in the senate. and, as the governor says, "to make sure west virginia's interests are best represented in how the plan is carried out." they describe kentucky senator mitch mcconnell's urge to rebel against the rule as pet -- petulant and foolish. that's from the heart of coal country. the coal dry is take on water. between the cost of old dirty
power plants and the exeftive advantage of cheaper natural gas, coal is struggling to say afloat. as mr. patton pointed out, those circumstances have nothing to do with who is sitting in the oval office. for states that have relied on coal for generations, the clean power plan is actually a lifeboat. it is a chance to kickstart new industries and innovative technologies and to choose the path forward that is best for your state and your citizens. it's a way off the sinking ship. recognizing the costs of carbon pollution is another lifeboat. i know this sounds strange to my colleagues, but please bear with me. you can't build the carbon-capture plants that could keep coal plants operating if it's free to pollute. there's no economic value to a carbon-capture plant if it's free to pollute.
the truck could you ant insistence by big coal is ironically coal's own undoing. and yet congressional republicans won't engage. they waste time with useless gingrich-era congressional review act efforts to block carbon-pollution controls on power plants, controls that americans over-wmgly support. and beyond that our republican friends simply have no plan. nothing. ness no plan there is no plan i. we can debate which is better. we can't pretend this isn't a problem. no plan to deal with climate change. no plan to help coal-relied communities find safe passage to a more sustainable economic future. so i ask my colleagues, please read what the c.e.o. of appalachian power said.
please take it to heart. please read the charleston, west virginia, editorial. please engage with us while we can still do some good. because, mr. president, when the market completely collapses, when there's nothing left to do, when coal is priced out by solar and wind and natural gas and other fuels, then it's too late to come back and say, no we need help. -- when the market has acted and someone suffers as a result, they don't get much sympathy in this building. now is the time when people who want to make this a smooth transition for coal economies need to come forward in the interest of their own people, in the interest of their own miners who need their pensions filled and fixed, in the interest of communities that need transitions, in the interest of their economy. i yield the floor.
i thank the senator from georgia for his patience during that. mrs. mccaskill: -- mr. isakson: i appreciate the senator. he is an articulate spokesperson. from time to time we differ in georgia we have carbon emissions called nuclear energy. that is part of the problems of the future and i appreciate that. we'll speak about that on another day. mr. whitehouse: on another day i'll be glad to speak with the senator from georgia about that because he may find we agree more than disagree. mr. isakson: we're here to talk about the rule of waters and the u.s.a. rule by the e.p.a. when i started preparing myself about what i have to say to make
my point and express myself, i listened at 2:30 to the speech of congressman ben sasse of nebraska. today he made his maiden speech on the floor of the senate. because i had an important appointment to get to, i know how long he spoke. he spoke for 27 minutes because that is how late i was for my appointment. but his speech was so good and affected so much this rule, waters of the u.s.a., i want to include it in my remarks tonight. what senator sasse said very simply was this, in his one year in the united states senate, observing the senate and how it operates, how we all operate, he went back to his constituents every week and he talks to them. the one thing he talked about is how we're moving more and more towards a government of an executive branch and a judicial branch and moving away from the legislative branch. we have administrations like the current administration that's tried to enforce the rule and effect of law through administrative rules and executive orders, not through legislation. and he didn't just point out that being a democratic situation. that's republican as well. if you look over the last 35
years, there has been a growth of the number of edicts that have come down regulatory-wise rather than legislatively. it's important for us to return the legislative branch of government to its appropriate place so we have a balance between legislative, executive and judicial. and i use the waters in the u.s.a. rule to explain to you why that's so important. this is a horrible rule. it's a rule that's going to be litigated in court for the next 30 to 40 years. why? because the clean water bill, which is its predecessor, has been litigated for 3040 years and eventually we've come to good policies where we have good water policies. not because that's where we started but because that's where we ended. i want to take a few experiences i have working under the clean water act of the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's to make the point of why it's so dangerous. the clean water act when it was passed passed with almost unanimous support. almost everybody said i can't be against clean water.
everybody wants clean water. but then there is a word called promulgate. we pass a law that expresses the intent of congress and then we say it's up to the agencies responsible to promulgate the laws, the rules and regulations necessary to carry out the intent of the law. therein becomes the problem because agencies like the e.p.a. start promulgating rules which take the force and effect of law which cause the wrong thing to happen. let me tell you what's going to happen with waters of the u.s.a. if it becomes a rule. you're going to give the power to the e.p.a. that you've given under eminent domain to cities, counties and states in the united states. eminent domain is the way the government was allowed under the constitution to take property but reimburse the owner of the property for the damage done by the government in the taking. for road right of ways, for sewer lines, for water projects and things of that nature. this is a grant for eminent domain to an agency without any requirement to compensate the person from whom they take the land or restrict the use of the land. the president mentioned his father and family was in the home building industry.
they developed land. i was too, in the land development industry. what you do is you add value to the land. you add value to its resources. you improve its drainage and use of water. but if you have a regulatory agency that makes it too expensive to develop the land you go out of business and the community goes out of business because there is no new housing. the effect of the rule is it shuts down the economy, growth and opportunity. it doesn't add to it. it's very important to understand when somebody says we're going to pass a waters of the u.s.a. rule that's going to improve the quality of your water and we're going to do so by delegating to the e.p.a. an unelected appointment agency the power to tell you what you have to do. they're in effect saying we're giving the power of eminent domain to the e.p.a. without a requirement that you as a landowner be compensated. mr. president, the reason america is different from every other country on the face of this earth, we're a nation of individual landowners. we own our country and we are good stewards of our land and we appreciate that opportunity. in most countries around the world you don't have the opportunity to own the land and have private ownership. you lease your little place in
life and that's where you go. but america is different and that's made us different. but if we're landowners and we come under a waters of the u.s.a. rule and the e.p.a. provides edicts that has the force and effect of law without the requirement we'd be compensated by the unjust rule or regulation we're like a european country or worse than that. it's very important we understand the quality of water is important. protecting our water is important. but it's a balance. it's a balance between the user, the landowner and the government. and what we need to do is come together to develop the policies that are necessary to see to it that we have a good quality of water and we have a good use of our water. but not a dictatorial agency in the federal government that's given total power to control our land and its use. mr. president, i love this country. i love the opportunity it's given to me, my opportunity to serve in the united states senate, take my life experiences to try to add to the quality of legislation that we pass here. i hope we'll pass the ernst legislation and stop the growth of the waters of the u.s.a. rule
and get everybody all the users to come to the table and talk about positive ways we can protect the quality of our water and the use of our wawpt -- water and management of our water but not confiscation of our property and dictates of an agency rather than elected body. we do not need america to become a dictatorial country. we need to continue to be a country of participation, negotiation, where everybody has a stake at the table and in the end we work for the best interest of all, not just the interest of an agency or even worse than that, a central belief within that agency. this rule is a rule that's bad for farmers, developers, landowners, cities, counties, water authorities, wastewater authorities, sewer treatment plants and anybody else that has water. i want to read to you where the e.p.a.'s coverage has in this bill. it says the flaw and rule of the e.p.a. to regulate nearly all water includes man-made water, management systems, water that infiltrates into the ground or moves over land, and any other water the e.p.a. decides has a significant nexus to downstream
water based upon the use by animals, insects, birds and on water storage considerations. there is no other provision in there. it includes all water. it is the authority for e.p.a. to regulate it. and we have a farm bureau in georgia that came up with the right slogan. they simply said after talking about the rule, after talking about waters in the u.s.a., there is only one thing we need to do. we need to ditch the rule. it's time tonight for the senate to adopt the ernst provision, ditch the rule, go back to the table, partnership lawyers between land -- partnership laws between landowners, land developers. let's don't be a nation that edicts from the top down. let's have solutions from the bottom up that protects the owner and distribution and land and never take control out of the hands of the states and move it into washington, d.c. last but not least do not give the power of eminent domain by name or any other name to the
united states and take away the right to compensate because if you do you become no better than a third world nation that's no good for the people that live in it and would be no good for the united states of america. with that said, i see the majority leader has come to the floor and i'm anxious to hear his remarks because i know his name was invoked a few moments ago. i yield back my time and i'm sure the majority leader would like to speak. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of s. res. 304 submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: senate resolution 304, recognizing november 28, 2015, as small business saturday and supporting efforts to increase awareness of the value of locally owned small businesses. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: now, mr. president, i understand there's a bill at the desk and i
ask for its first reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the title of the bill. the clerk: s. 2232, a bill to require the full audit of the bored of goofers for the federal reserve system and the federal reserve banks by the comptroller general of the united states and for other purposes. mr. mcconnell: i ask for a second reading and in order to place the bill on the calendar under the provisions of rule 14 i object to my own request. the presiding officer: objection having been heard, the title of the bill will be read for a second time on the next legislative day. mr. mcconnell: now, mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today it adjourn until 10:00 a.m., wednesday, november 4. following the prayer and pledge, the morning hour deemed expired, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. further, following leader remarks the senate then resume consideration of s.j. res. 22 with the time until 12:00 noon equally divided in the usual form. finally that at 12:00 noon the
senate vote on passage of s.j. res. 22. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: if there is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order following the remarks of senator portman. the presiding officer: without objection. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: mr. president, i rise this evening to talk about an issue that's critical to keeping jobs here in america, keeping development here in this -- investment here in this country and not driving it overseas. we had another reminder just last week of just how broken our tax code is when a huge company, pfizer, pharmaceutical company, decided it can no longer compete in the global market as a u.s. corporation. instead it's seeking a merger with an irish-based drugmaker called allergin.
they want to move to ireland. it is another in a long line of companies that have made this decision because our tax code is broken. unfortunately, these kinds of transactions, they're called inversions where a u.s. company buys a smaller company overseas and merges with them to become a foreign company, that's just the tip of the iceberg. it's actually bigger than these inversions. it also just has to do with foreign companies buying u.s. companies, because they can do so. because they have a higher after-tax profit and pay a premium. these kinds of transactions are causing our jobs and investments to go overseas. yesterday we had another indication of that. it was announced the irish drug company shire is going to buy the massachusetts based company diax for $6.5 billion. this isn't the first acquisition shire made this year. in january they acquired a new jersey-based company, m.p.s. pharmaceuticals. and in august they bought a
privately held company called foresight biotherapeutics. by the way, this activity by sphire, a foreign company buying u.s. companies moving their headquarters overseas, this is an example of why what the obama administration is doing to counter this is not working. because their solution to this is not to reform the tax code, but rather to change the way the tax laws are interpreted and put out regulations they call a tax notice that tries to blocks these so-called inversions. well, this very company we're talking about, shire was the subject of an inversion and it is true that abvee that was going to merge with them and do one of these inversions, they chose not to because of the administration's new tax notice, these new regulations. but what happened instead? shire said we won't merge with this u.s. company through inversion. we'll just start buying u.s. companies, and they bought three this year. so, this is only going to be
solved if we actually reform the tax code. we've also seen this with another pharmaceutical company, interestingly it's called salex. salex wanted to do a merger, one of these inversions, and they were blocked from doing it by the regulations. so then they decided to become a target for foreign takeover. and sure enough a canadian company, valiant, which already moved from the united states to canada in a merger, in an inversion, comes down to the united states and buys in this case salex, which is a north carolina company. so this is happening. just about every week we're hearing about another company leaving our shores. because of our tax code. now to the administration's credit, they haven't just put out these regulations saying let's slow down on inversions. they have said we do need to reform the tax code. and that's the truth. this town is not doing its work. we're not doing what the people have elected us to do which is to fix problems like this. we're just letting this fester.
and again, every week we have another example of this. it's no secret why this is happening. at a combined 39% rate -- 39% tax rate the united states of america now has the highest business tax rate of any of the industrialized countries. it's a number one you don't want to be. second, we don't let companies who are american companies bring their profits back here without paying that prohibitively high tax, so they lock up their profits overseas. you've heard this probably, but they say there is about $2.5 trillion, $2.5 trillion in earnings that are locked up overseas that could come back here to create jobs right here, expand plant and equipment, add more employees. instead because of our tax code, it's not coming back. $2.5 trillion. really importantly, the burden of this falls on american workers. think about it.
one, because these companies in america aren't as competitive as they should be because of our tax code. according to the studies, wages are lower, benefits are lower, u.s. workers are caught. this is one reason -- among others, but one reason that we've got wage stagnation in this country because our tax code is so out of date. just by fixing the tax code, we could give a shot in the arm. instead, so many workers in my home state of ohio and around this country are working hard, playing by the rules, doing everything right, and yet their wages are flat. even on average declining. this is a new phenomenon for us in this country, but in the last six years, wages have gone down on average. not just stayed flat. and by the way, expenses are up. health care, thanks to obamacare, tuition costs, energy costs, electricity bill, food costs. it's called the middle-class squeeze. flat wages, higher expenses.
one way to fix that is to put forward pro-growth policies that can actually make a difference in getting this economy moving, and here specifically we have an example where if we had a better tax code based on the economic analysis, it would result, not just in more jobs but in better jobs. so it's a way we can help, not just to bring back the jobs but to bring back better jobs. almost all of our competitors think of the u.k., united kingdom, japan. they've lowered their rates and they've also gone to a competitive international tax code where their companies can bring their earnings back to invest in their country. so they're beating us. america's falling behind because of this problem. american companies are much more valuable as foreign headquarters than they are in the hands of u.s. owners. it's the primary reason, by the way, that last year the number of acquisitions of u.s.
companies by foreign companies doubled. let me say that again. last year, there were twice as many foreign takeovers as the year before, twice as many. something's happening here. by the way, this year, the $275 billion worth of takeovers we saw last year is likely to go to over $400 billion, we are told. so it's not quite a doubling this year, but pretty darn close. again, there's something happening. my concern is if we don't do something about this, we're going to look back four or five years from now and say what happened? all these great u.s. companies have gone overseas. and it's not just pharmaceutical companies. it's across the board. it's all kinds of industries. try to buy an american beer. the largest u.s. beer companies are now sam adams, with about 1.4% market share, and yingling
with about the same market share. all of the rest are foreign owed. all of them. anheuser busch went overseas, miller's is overseas, coors is overseas. you go right down the line of american businesses that are affected by this, and it's thousands and thousands of jobs. we did a little investigation of this in the subcommittee that i had. it's called the permanent subcommittee on investigations. i cochair it with claire mccaskill which is a democrat from missouri. we looked into this issue, did some research. we decided it was worth having a hearing bringing some of these facts to light. we did this a couple of months ago. this is what we found out. having reviewed more than a dozen recent foreign acquisitions of u.s. companies and mergers where the headquarters ended up being overseas, we found out that jobs are being lost, investment is being lost. not a surprise. it's not just headquarters that move, it's people, it's money. one prominent case study we looked at was the acquisition of this valient pharmaceutical company i talked about earlier.
valient is now a company in quebec. they merged with a company in canada. when they went up there, they decided you know what, we're now going to start buying u.s. companies because we have such an advantage, we can pay a premium. they have now managed to acquire more than a dozen u.s. companies worth more than $30 billion. we reviewed some of the key deal documents to understand how the tax advantages affected these acquisitions specifically, how did it affect them? they are able to look at the 2013 sale of the new york-based eyecare firm bausch and lomb. anybody that wears contact lenses, you probably heard of them. the 2015 sale of this north carolina company called salex i talked about a moment ago. in those two acquisitions alone, veil yeent -- valient determined they could shave off $3 billion from the tax bills just by integrating these companies into their canadian-based operations.
think about that. so what did these deals mean to the american worker? the three recent valient acquisitions we studied resulted in the loss of about 2,300 u.s. jobs, plus a loss of about $16 million per year of contract manufacturing that was moved from the united states to canada, additional jobs being lost. again, this is happening as we talk tonight, there are companies considering leaving our shores because our tax code is so outdated and so antiquated. we talked about the beer industry. the subcommittee took testimony from a guy named jim cook. jim is the founder and chairman of the boston beer company. you might know him as the maker of sam adams. again, market share is about 1.4%. mr. cook testified that if we failed to reform our tax code, his company could be next. he explained that he regularly gets offers from investment bankers to facilitate a sale. he comes back to his office after being away a week and what does he find on his inbox? a bunch of proposals from
investment banking firms saying why don't you go overseas, we'll show you how to do it, we can save you all kinds of money. become a foreign corporation. and you know what? this is what's happening all over the country. mr. cook, to his credit, is a real patriot. he doesn't want to become a foreign company. he has declined all these offers. he has also informed us when he is gone, he believes these companies will be driven by financial pressure to be an overseas company. he owns a majority of the company's voting shares. he's fortunate. not all c.e.o.'s are in that position, of course, and can't afford because they have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to be able to withstand this pressure to go overseas. so in our subcommittee hearing and in some of the dialogue here on the floor and elsewhere, we hear a lot of criticism of these companies that have gone overseas. i would just say the plain truth, which is if there is any villain in this story, it's not
those companies. i wish they would stay here, but it's not those companies. it's our tax code, and it's washington. just another example, along with regulatory relief as we talked about earlier tonight, along with expanding export and being sure imports are fairly traded, along with dealing with our education system and our worker retraining system at the federal level, it's not working. all of these things need to be changed. our energy approach to have a one-size-fits-all policy, that's washington, can and should do that. so many issues that we are not addressing in terms of the debt and the deficit and economic issues. this is another one, and this one is just so obvious. mr. cook is famous today -- this is the founder and chairman of boston beer company, sam adams, because he was in a "wall street journal" editorial, and i commend that editorial to you. it talks about exactly what i mentioned earlier, which is
because the after-tax profit is greater for a foreign company, they can pay a premium. they talked about the fact that as compared to being able to bring a dollar back from overseas as a u.s. company and having 39% of it taxed with a foreign entity, for instance, what could happen here with pfizer, they can go overseas, become an irish company, only pay 12%, they can actually bring 88 cents of that dollar back to this country. what an irony. they can invest more in america by being a foreign company. we'd like them to be able to be an american company and bring that money back that's overseas and to be able to invest in jobs, plant, equipment, people. "the wall street journal" editorial was wrong in one regard, and that's when they said that jim cook is a bearded brewer, he doesn't have a beard but he is a brewer.
but they also said that this is an issue that divides democrats and republicans. i would say with respect as a republican on this side of the aisle it's not that simple. there are democrats who actually think we should be reforming the tax code. there are a lot of republicans who think that, too. in the presidential debate, you can see a lot of republicans talking about it. hillary clinton, on the other hand, doesn't seem much interested in it. she wants to punish these companies, she says, that go overseas. that's not going to happen. that's going to drive more companies overseas. they will vote with their feet. but i don't believe this is a partisan issue. i actually believe that there are people of goodwill on both sides of the aisle who get this. senator schumer and i did a report after a working group that we were asked to share by our leadership where we came up with the conclusion that we had to fix this system. senator schumer is a democrat,
i'm a republican. we don't agree on a lot of things, but we agreed on this because after hearing testimony from people, including c.e.o.'s of companies who are struggling with this decision, we realized we have to deal with it. we have to deal with it. i believe ultimately what we have to do is overhaul our entire tax code. we should deal with the individual side of the code. we should lower that rate and broaden the base. in other words, get rid of a lot of preferences and loopholes. on the corporate side do the same thing, get the corporate rate down so it's competitive. 25% rate rather than 35% rate would make a big difference. the overhaul is necessary for us to be able to give the economy the real shot in the arm it deserves. but in the short term, even with a president who refuses to reform the taxes on the individual side without raising significant new revenues -- in other words, increasing taxes dramatically, a couple trillion dollars in his budget, we're not going to do that because that would hurt the economy too much.
but even with a president who believes that on the individual side, there does seem to be more consensus on this business issue, what to do with the business tax code, particularly as it relates to the international tax code we talked about. so my feeling is let's take a first step. let's do what we can do on a bipartisan basis. let's build on that consensus that we've reached, that we've got to fix this problem now or we're going to continue to see more and more companies and jobs and investment go overseas. let's come up with something that addresses that specific problem. in july in this report that senator schumer and i released, we suggested three things where we could find a consensus. one, let's move to that international tax system where we can allow people to bring their earnings home. let's not lock those earnings up overseas. let's have what we call a permanent repatriation, allow that money to come back. by the way, that money could be used for all kinds of things,
including infrastructure, so it could be tied to the highway bill. but importantly for me is that we change the system to allow those funds to come back here and create jobs and opportunity in america. $2.5 trillion locked up overseas. second, we said we ought to have incentives to be able to keep intellectual property which is highly mobile here in america because a lot of countries around the world now are setting up what they call patent boxes or innovation boxes and attracting our best and brightest. they're creating now a nexus between a lower rate you get if you move that intellectual property overseas between that and the researchers. in other words, they'll give you a low tax rate but you have to move the expertise there, too. again, we're going to look back a few years from now if we don't deal with this and say what happened? some of our best researchers, some of our best colleges and universities here are not doing the work anymore because it's been done overseas because they are providing the incentives and we're not. and then third, we agreed we do
need to have some sensible base erosion protections that would discourage companies from shifting their income to low tax jurisdictions, to tax havens just for that purpose. and by the way, the businesses that we talked to around the country agree with that. they would like to see a lower tax rate also, and that's incredibly important, and that's the obvious next step, but i do think there is an opportunity for us to act and act now to be able to help give the economy a shot in the arm, bring back the trillions of dollars overseas and to help us stop this exdoes of -- exodus of jobs and investment in u.s. companies overseas. i also believe we could act this year on this. we know what to do. there have been plenty of reports and studies. there is actually a tax proposal introduced by dave camp, who was the chairman of the ways and means committee, prior to paul ryan. paul ryan is very interested in this, who is now the speaker of the house.
he has done a lot of good work on this. the ways and means committee, the finance committee have held literally dozens of heargz. we know what to do. it's a question of political will to get it done. as we do that, we should also be sure that the annual tax extenders -- these are provisions of the tax code that are only in place for a short period of time. right now, they have already expired, and the idea is that at the end of the year, we might once again retroactively, retroactively extend these tax provisions. think of the r&d tax credit, for instance. we think we should make those extenders that are good policy permanent. if we did that and we did this tax reform we talked about earlier, which by the way would be revenue-neutral -- this is the one area where the president of the united states and other democrats are willing to say, let's not try to wring more taxes out of the system. let's try to do this on a revenue-neutral basis. it will be so pro--growth that
it will result in more revenue coming in not because you raise taxes but because it is the right thing to do to encourage jobs, investments, opportunity. if you did these tax extenders along with it, you'd be making policies permanent that would provide a huge boost to the economy. the joint committee on taxation found that the short-term extenders package that was passed by the senate finance committee last month -- this is just a short-term one -- would create $10.4 billion in new tax revenue over the next ten years. think about that. that's just a short-term extension. imagine the growth if those were made permanent. so we do have the opportunity here to do something good for our country, for our companies, and most importantly for american workers. and one that's going to result in growth in the economy and, therefore, revenue through growth, not through higher taxes but in fact getting the tax rates down but having a competitive international tax system.
the last thing we want to do is to look back a few years from now and say, we had this opportunity. in this area at least we have a president willing to work with us. we have some democrats and republicans willing to join hands and try to get something done. and we missed the opportunity and now we are seeing this unfortunate movement of mured -- of more and more of our great american companies overseas. we are seeing the american tax base being eroded. we are seeing something that would take away the opportunity for us to help get this economy back on track for everybody, for the shared prosperity that we all seek. if that hangars we'll have no one to -- if that happens, we'll have no one to blame but our self here in this town. i encourage my colleagues, look at what's happening. look at what's happening in pfizer last week, with shier
this week, with yet another company next week. we need to wake up and realize if we don't act -- and we can alone can act because this requires a change in tax policy; it cannot happen through more regulations; it has to happen by changing the law. if we don't act, we are not doing our duty to those who sent us here to represent them. thank you, mr. president. i yield back my time. the senator from ohio. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: i ask the senate be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to spee smeek forpermitspeak fos eached. eached.
tennessee senators tomorrow etc. bob corker remembered farmers tennessee senator thompson who died over the weekend at the age of 73. here's a look at their remarks. >> mr. presents my sad duty as was mentioned by leaders this morning to report that fred thompson who served in his body from 2009 from 1995, 22,003
representing our state of tennessee died in nashville on sunday. my wife and i and the members of our family and every one of whom knew fred very well, as well as members of the united states senate expressed to fred's wife jeri, children hayden and sammy, his sons by his earlier marriage to sarah tony ann and his brother ken howe or sympathy for his death. very few people can light up the room the way fred thompson did. the truth is, most public figures have always been a little jealous of fred thompson. his personality had a streak of magic that none of the rest of us have. that magic was on display when he was minority counsel to the senate watergate committee in 1973. asking former white house alexander butterfield the famous
question mr. butterfield, are you aware of any installation of any listening devices in the oval office of the president thereby publicly reviewing the existence of tape recorded conversations in the white house. "national public radio" later called the session and the discovery of the watergate tapes that quote turning point in the investigation unquote. thomas magic was opened in 1985 wins thread was asked to play himself in the movie marie. in real life fred had been the attorney for the truth telling chairman of the tennessee parole board during a scandal in our state when pardons were sold for cash. after that he was cast a number of movie roles as the cia director, the head of dulles airport, and admiral, the president of nascar, three presidents of the united states and district attorney arthur branch in the television series
law and order. that same magic served him well when he ran for the united states senate in 1994 for the last two years of vice president gore's unexpired term. he was a good republican and fred's red pickup truck attracted attention but he defeated a strong opponent by more than 20 percentage points, mostly because when he appeared on television tenneseans liked him, trusted him and voted for him. fred took on some big assignments during his time in the senate but sometimes you would become impatient with some of the foolishness around here. a washington reporter once asked him if he messed making movies. yeah he said, sometimes i miss the sincerity of hollywood. people ask me sometimes, how could an actor accomplished so much in addition to those things that i already mentioned.
during the 1980s fred was invited twice to the special counsel to the united states senate investigating committee. when he retired from the senate he took over paul harvey's radio show. in 2008 he was a front-runner for the presidency of the united states. for the last several years it's been hard to turn on the television without seeing fred thompson urging you to buy a reverse mortgage. i believe there are three reasons why his career was so extraordinary and so diverse. first, he was authentic, genuine , bona fide and so far as i know he never had an acting lesson. as he did marie and most of his movie roles he played himself. there was no pretense and fred thompson on or off the stage. he was purposeful. in 1992 when i was education secretary, i invited fred to lunch in the white house lunchroom. for years i had urged him to be
a candidate for public office. i hope she might run in 1994. what struck me during our entire lunch and conversation was that not once did he raise any political concerns. his only question was if i were to be elected, what do you suppose i could accomplish? and when he wasn't elected he was serious in principle. he was a strict federalist. never a fan of washington telling americans what to do even if he thought it was something americans should be doing. he was not afraid to cast votes that were unpopular with his constituents if he was convinced that he was right. now the third reason for fred thompson's success was that he worked hard. now to many my saying that will come as something of a surprise. he was notoriously easy going. but he grew up in modest circumstances in large for
tennessee. his father was a car salesman. he was a double major in philosophy and political science at the university of memphis pretty did well enough to earn scholarship to tulane and vanderbilt law school's. he worked at the bicycle plant a post office and a motel. before he was watergate counsel he was assistant united states attorney. the remainder of his busy life has been filled with law practice, radio shows, counsel and senate investigated committees. more than 20 movies and eight years as united states senator. i have attended a number of memorial services for prominent figures and as a result i have added a rule to lamar alexander's book. been invited to speak at a funeral assure dimension the deceased as often as yourself. i mentioned this rule last year when i spoke at howard baker zero because there came a point in my remarks when i could not continue without mentioning my
relationship with senator baker and i therefore had to break my own rule. the same is true with fred thompson. we were friends for nearly 50 years. in the late 1960s both of us fresh out of law school, we were invited by senator howard baker to help build a two-party political system in tennessee. fred's political debut as campaign manager for john williams for congress against a ray bland in 1968. my first political for foray was howard baker's successful senate campaign in 1966. when senator baker ran for re-election in 1972, recruited fred to be the senators tennessee campaign manager. in 1973 senator baker asked me to be minority counsel of the watergate committee. i suggested suggested he ask for it instead of the former united states attorney, fred was much better equipped for the job. but i lost the governor's race in 1974.
we were invited to go to florida and when i was sworn in as governor in 1979 even without asking him i knew the fred thompson would fly in from nashville to washington d.c. to review more than 60 pardons and parole's that had allegedly been issued because someone had paid cash for them. i wanted the celebrated watergate personality to help restore confidence in tennessee's justice. in the spring of 2,000,002 fred telephoned to say he would not run for re-election so i sought and won the senate seat that both he and howard baker had held. i have the same phone number today that both of them had when they were here. during my general election campaign in 2002 and opponent said, fred and omar are both in howard baker's state. fred replied, stable hell, we are the same stall. several times i got a dose of
fred thompson's magic during the something experiences when i asked him to campaign with me. campaigning with fred thompson was a little like going to dollywood with dolly parton. you can be sure no one is there to see you. we have a tradition of scratching our names in the drawers of the desks are preoccupied here on the floor of the united states senate. when i arrived here in 2003 i searched high and low until i found what i wanted, a task occupied by two press members. my friend fred thompson and our mentor howard baker. during one of those late-night senate budget sessions a few years ago i scratch my name after theirs. i will probably remain there as long as this desk does. baker, thompson, alexander. tenneseans in our country have been fortunate that public service attracted fred dalton
thompson. we will miss his common sense, his conservative principles and his big booming voice. we have lost one of our most able and attractive public servants and my wife and i have lost a dear friend. >> the senator from tennessee. >> mr. president i rise to share my voice with lamar alexander's and the loss of a great tennessean at the great american and i appreciate so much senator alexander chronologically going through much of the great senator thompson's life and talking about the personal experiences. elizabeth and i too want to share our condolences with jerry, hayden and sammy along with tony and fan his sons by his first marriage with sarah
and his brother ben. i was able to talk to tony last week as fred was in hospice care and as you would expect, fred ain't the kind of person that he was for not forgetting where he came from, and they wanted to spend those last days together in quiet and didn't want a lot of phonecalls are a lot happening to make people aware of what was happening. .. having that extraordinary talent is he also had the gift of knowing when and how to use it. his extraordinary ability as has been chronicled as a lawyer, his ability when faced with a case that became something of
national notoriety to himself become an actor and play the role that he was -- in this case in real life -- and then to serve in the united states senate in the way that he did. i too had the extraordinary privilege, as i have had in knowing someone like lamar alexander who i think is one of the great public servants of our state. howard baker, who's been a mentor to all of us and had such an impact on myself, on lamar and on fred. bu >> andt on fred, but to know frd as we. back in 1994, as i was telling some people from tennessee earlier today, i was also running for the senate in a race that no one remembers because of the results. but as lamar mentioned, everywhere you went people wanted to see fred. fred had this extraordinary ability to capture people's
imagination. fred never apologized for what we did to make the world a better police. people would gather around fred in huge crowds. people would pat bill and myself on the head and say some day you too might be a united states senator. fred was criticized because of the way he was going about the race. it reminded me of how much talent he had and the ability to use it. he told people the first time i run a television ad this race is over. he did and it was. he went on to win by 20 points because of the way people felt around him. not only around our state, but around our country. fred was very impatient with
serving in the senate. i had multiple conversations with him about that. and actually, you know, serving here one can understand with someone like fred who constantly wanted to make something happen how that was a frustration. but i know for a fact watching the early days, heading the homeland security committee and doing many things we did he affected the state and country in a positive way. we will miss him. he is one of those people that makes you want to do better when you are around him. i thank him for the service to the community and the friendships he created all around our state. and i thank him for causing all of us to constantly remember where we came from.
with that, i join senator alexander in expressing deep condolences to his family and all around him especially when the end came. with that, i field the floor. >> the house foreign affairs committee holds a hearing on u.s. policy in syria following russia's military intervention. assistant secretary of state patterson and newland testify and you can see that live and on c-span3. >> about whom will you next write? i thought there is only one person. only one about whom i would write if i were to write a second biography. i wrote that book. >> i thought i will be standing next to the president speaking to 3,500 of the most important people in this world in washington, d.c.
who knows how i will feel in the moment. i had the idea i might do that. i thought maybe i will give him the books later. but if i feel it in the moment to pull off the goofiness i will do it. >> we talk about the writing career and best selling books and crossover between religion and politics. >> it is important for everybody to take politics seriously and at least vote but never to make what we christians call an idol of politics. it is a fine line and something i talk about fairly often.
>> today white house briefing with josh ernest. he spoke about the letter behind the keystone xl pipeline requesting the state department to stop the review process. here is more about that now. >> good afternoon, everybody. how are you? good. today my cup is filled with the sweet nectar of a world championship series. >> what does that involve? >> maybe by the time i finish it you will be able to tell.
aged for 30 years. exactly. i don't have announcements at the top. let's go to the questions. >> i had a couple questions on keystone. i know they are reviewing the process to suspend the process. but what is the president want to see happen with that request? >> my understanding is the state department is reviewing the letter to determine what the request is and what is motivating that request. i think we have all shared our collective view. this is one of the situations where we have a collective view. this is a process that has taken an ex tensive amount of time to complete. i don't have an update for you in terms of where the state department currently is in the process. but given how long it has taken, it seems unusual to me to suggest somehow it should be paused yet again. but this is something the state
department is still considering and when they a reaction to the letter, when the administration has a reaction to the letter they will announce that. >> the president stands by what you said yesterday which is he plans to make a decision by the end of his presidency? >> that is the current plan. >> does the president take any responsibility for the length of time? this has been delayed or pushed back after the 2012 election, after the 2014 election, now transcanada is saying they want to push it back until after the 2016 election. does the president feel like this is something he bears responsibility for? >> well, there are a couple things that have intervened. there was a legitimate reason to hold it up while it was in the midst of a legal and judicial proceeding in nebraska.
that did delay the proposal primarily because the legal process was having impact on the potential final root of the pipeline. so it made sense for there to be a delay in that sense. we talked about how agrocegresay advocates on both sides pol politicized this process. this has been infuseed -- infused with politics and my experience is when things worthy of technical consideration gets politicized it slows it down. i think there are a number of contributing factors. i think the president has worked
hard to insure the detaerm nation is one focused on the merits. on the merits of the application, the president talked about part of what will be factored into the consideration is the impact this project would have on -- i would say there is a reason for the delays but there is a delay based on the shield of politics. >> this has been going on for so long. now we have transcanada stepping in and wanting to push this off. why doesn't the president tell the state department give me
your final answer and i will make my decision now. why doesn't he do that and end this? >> i think because he doesn't want the process to be inappropriately influenced by political posturing on either side. what is appropriate is to do our best to shield this process as much as possible. there is no doubt this debate hasn't been influenced by the politics. it is very difficult to do given the amount of politics being played here. i would stipulate that is a difficult challenge but it is one the president is committed to because -- and this is the reason why it is important. for as politiczed as the process
is you can imagine the outcome and how politicized it. trying to shore up the integrity of the outcome. >> transcanada said they want to wait until after the election. if the president decides to shield it from politics and the election is a political event would that mean that would not be a good enough reason to pause the review? i think the election is a year away. exactly a year away. i don't think that is a good excuse for spending the next year doing nothing.
that is exactly what the ongoing process is trying to determine. the best interest of the country. so we will continue to do our best to shield that process that will consider the merits of this project from the political debate. and given the fact the election is a year away, we should be able to do that. so, fundamentally then, the president said he wanted to be finish, complete, get off the plate before he leaves office. >> the president has said that before, yes. he would like to have this determination before completed.
>> i would ask the state department legal experts for their analysis of the legal implications of the request. >> donald trump said today the fed is keeping the interest rates low at the request of president obama and his administration. can you comment on that? has the president or his administration asked the feds to keep the interest rates low? >> of course not. this administration is going to great lengths to insure the federal reserve can make monetary decisions based on the interest of the economy.
april? >> speaking of legacy, i want to go to the issue of criminal justice. could you get into depths a little more than what the president talked about about how race plays into fixing all of these problems of criminal justice reform? >> i think the president is clear in noting the entire country has a stake in the resolution of these issues. the entire country is interested in a criminal justice system that is implemented fairly.
misunderstandings about what the president is doing? >> i think it is hard to generalize about the comments of people who chose to contact the white house about one particular issue or another. i think the best way to assess what the grassroots across the country are is to consider the unusual display of bipartisanship that we have seen in pursuit of the reform efforts in congress.
it it doesn't mean we agree on every aspect. but it indicates there is a lot of bipartisan ground to be seized in these reforms. democrats and republicans alike acknowledge that concerns about fairness in our currently structured criminal justice system are well-founded. democrats and republicans alike agree there are common sense reforms that can be made to the criminal justice system that will lower crime rates and make communities across the country safer. that doesn't have much to do with politics. it has to do with the basic responsibility of the government and communities across the country. i think democrats and republicans alike acknowledge that. i think what is remarkable is a willingness on both parties to set aside their fight on a whole nother range of issues.
i think it is an indication of how high the stakes and how much common ground exists. >> there are concerns there is only going to be three years now instead of six years to process this. is there a concern from the white house? >> april, the fact is the last several extensions we have gotten have been measured not in years but in months. and that is something we have expressed significant concern about. primarily because the impact it
would have on the ability of state's to plan infrastructure projects. so we have been encouraging congress to consider as long term of legislation as they can in working on this funding mechanisms. you know, we will continue to do that. there is a wide range of consideration from members of congress as they pursue this. whether it is three years or six years that would be an improvement on the most recently passed, i believe it was a three or four week extension. so, you know, we need to get out of the business of the short-term extensions and consider longer term proposals. the good news is this is what congress is doing. >> do you agree with the assessment from the transportation secretary, anthony fox, when it comes to the roadway infrastructure? he feels like no one is
improving and he feels it is so severe it is like chicken littleal and the sky is falling. do you agree with that statement? >> it is secretary fox's responsibility to look after the infrastructure of the country and make sure it is in place to provide for the safety of the american travelling public. that is the top priority. but to insure the free flow of commerce and high functioning in the country. we know there are implications for allowing our transportation infrastructure to degrade. so modernization projects and improvements are good because they create jobs in the short term to fix or upgrade infrastructure but they are important to the long-term economic strengths to the country. this is something that secretary fox has been focused on. it is important for people in both parties, and all across the country, to listen to his advice. >> do you embrace the term the sky is falling? >> he can best assess the
situation. >> when you were asked why the president doesn't ask the state department to give his recommendation on the merits you said he is trying to shield it from the influence of politics. i am trying to understand how the president asking for a report on the merit would be influenced by politics. i would think it would be the opposite. >> the point i am trying to make is there is reason to believe there might be politics at play here in trying to affect the timing of the keystone proposal. we have seen advocates on both sides urging the president to hurry up and make the decision. now we are hearing opponents to slow down or pause the decision. the fact is we believe that the decision should be made on the timeframe of the experts who
were evaluating this project. they come to a determination based on the merits, and not the timing, that is when the process should be completed. >> those who may not have a stake in this and may not take a partisan position may not be curious about how long it can take to study the merits of what is pretty straightforward infrastructure project? the lack of a decision doesn't seem to be to insulated this from politics. it has only intensified the politics around the decision making process. so it seems to me, and a lot of people, if you want to shield this from the continued application of political pressure, make a decision. that is the proper way to get the politics out of it. >> and i think that the president's instructions to the state department is to carefully consider the merits of this
proposal and to make a decision as soon as those merits have been properly considered. what goes into that and why has it taken so long? the state department may provide more insight into that but i would concede it has taken time. >> the president has instructed yellin because he fears there is a real estate bubble and wants to be out before the bubble burst and that would be burst by any incremental raising of the interest rates. that is an economic observation made by someone who has some experience in real estate. >> and someone who has declared bankruptcy like four times, too. so consider the source of that advice. >> the question is does this administration have any fear of a real estate bubble or believe in any way, shape or form, or interest rates are creating potential to break the bubble.
>> i have not seen an analysis of this. i am sure the treasury department has taken a look at this. there has been an effort to help people who were affected by the last economic downturn to stay in their homes, first of all, and second of all to help them be able to conduct transactions in a efficiently functioning real estate market. so you know, this has included another thing. you will remember back in january that the president announced a set of reforms
around mortgage premium insurance where we would lower interest rates for mortgage insurance that would allow homeowners to make purchases that would save them $900 a year. that is one example of the kinds of steps the president has taken using his executive authority to try to make the real estate market work better for homeowners in this country. for the consequences of any independent fed decisions on the housing market i am sure that is something that the fed takes into consideration. but because of our commitment to their ability to make independent decisions i will not speculate on that. >> hillary clinton and martin o'malley have proposals they say they would enact through executive order on gun control. i will curious if the administration has had any conversation with either on
looking for these suggestions. ? or does the administration believe clinton or o'malley are going beyond permissive authority? >> i have not looked at their proposals carefully, but what the administration is doing at the direction of the president is carefully considering what authorities are available to the president, and looking to see if there is some additional steps that can be taken to prevent criminals, those the subject of retraining order or mental problems, from getting their hands on a gun so easily. it is our view there are things congress can do that would not require executive action and protect the constitutional rights of law-abiding americans. >> does the administration believe the ideas or suggestions are helpful?
the implication is you are not moving fast enough and hillary clinton and o'malley see this and they are prepared to help. >> what is helpful is people putting forward good ideas. the president sat at this podium a month ago and made it clear it is important to have a political debate about these issues. so the prospect of them coming up in the context of the presidential campaign is something we consider to be good news. >> on the next washington journal, seth molten of massachusetts, a member of the budget and armed services committee. the freshman lawmakers talks about his four tours in iraq. then congressman luke messer of indiana on upcoming fiscal deadlines and how house republican leadership will change under speaker paul ryan. and later our spotlight on magazines features catherine ward on plastic bags and what
get your order in today on our website. tonight on c-span2, political analyst charlie cook discusses 2016 elections. donald trump talks to reporters in new york. and later a senate armed service committee hearing on the future of warfare. charlie cook, publishers of the cook report, made predictions about who would win each party's no nomination and discussed the democrat's chances of taking over the senate.